Americans in their late 20s and early 30s are in bigger debt than their parents and grandparents, according to a new study.
The research, from The Ohio State University, indicates that Americans born between 1980 and 1984 carry an average of $5,689 more debt than their parents did at the same age and $8,156 more than their grandparents.
Not only do younger people owe more money, they are slow in paying it off, leaving them at risk of dying in debt. The study, which was published in the Economic Inquiry journal, concludes that the reason younger people are in over their heads is that credit is easier to obtain and debt has less of a stigma than it did in the past.
"It's not really surprising to me that the young people have more debt than their parents and grandparents," says Linda Sherry, director of national priorities at Consumer Action. "In their grandparents' day, revolving credit wasn't really available as it is today, and even in their parents' time, (credit) cards were not as available."
Carrying long-term credit card debt is serious and dangerous, says Sherry, adding that younger people sometimes have more revolving debt than older cardholders because they have less income. Once they get a job that pays more, she says, they may want to pay off the cards.
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